Well, we just got back from Maui.  Had a blast, 7 days of rest & relaxation, and now it’s back to the real world and WORK!  YUCK!  We went to a Memorial Day party at a friend’s house yesterday and today we spent a very nice, relaxaing day with Elizabeth, Todd, Kelsey, Heather, Hunter and Pepper.  We go back to work tomorrow night and we have heard that we missed out on some very busy days, so hopefully it’s not too crazy getting back into the swing of things.  So, we are contemplating staying here in Modesto until November.  There really isn’t much out there in the way of travel assignments so it’s nice that we have this option to fall back on.  Plus, we have gotten to be really close with a few peeps here and it will be hard to leave when the day actually comes, so it might be nice to put it off a little longer. 😦  A few days after our return home, Linus (AKA the runner) escaped through the front door and had a nice little jaunt through the neighborhood and had a nice treat (pork chops) from his rescuer!  Thank goodness we found him, boy is he a fast little guy!   Other than that, not much else new on this end.

Well, the first of the year has officially flown by and now it is Spring and with this new season, Jodi and I have added a new member to our animal family.  If you remember from the last post we had rescued two stray pups, well the big one had a home and his owner came and picked him up while we were in Tahoe. Unfortunately, we never found the little one’s owner. I say unfortunate, but I just mean unfortunate for his family.  This little guy has swooped in and stolen our hearts, for real, I don’t mean to sound cheesy but we really love him.  This little dog has one of the cutest personality’s I have ever seen.  I cannot believe that someone is not out combing the streets for this dog.  From the minute Jodi gave little Linus a bath and trimmed his nails he has made himself quite comfortable in our humble abode. So, we have now become a couple of traveling nurses with 3 dogs and 2 cats.  Jodi and I have made a pact that we are not allowed to pick up any more stray animals.  The funny thing is about two weeks after we had taken in the two dogs, we were driving somewhere and saw a little puppy running down the street, Jodi said “NOOOOOO” and drove away.  It is so hard because we both love dogs so much and if it was up to us we would have more than we already do. Anyway, we are extremely happy that Linus is now our dog, I think Miles is also very happy and personally I think that he wanted to keep him from the minute the two of them were introduced.  They have quickly become good friends.  

 

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If you look closely, you can see his little teeth, he is smiling

If you look closely, you can see his little teeth, he is smiling

 

In other news, it looks as if we are going to be staying in Modesto through the summer.  I know what you are thinking “WHY?”  Well, there is practically nothing in the travel nurse job industry, and thankfully the hospital we are at still needs us and wants to keep us.  So this means that we still have a job, we can pay our bills, we like the people we work with and so we are very blessed and thankful in that regard.  I can’t say that I am really looking forward to the HOT summer that they speak of, but at least it is a dry heat, unlike the humidity from which we came.  

The last couple of months have been very busy, between work and dog rescuing we have been able to visit some fun places.  I must backtrack a wee bit.  In the beginning of February, our friend Kim came and visited us and we had a blast.  We went to Monteray Bay (BEAUTIFUL!!) and then we spent a couple days in Napa Valley and drank some wine, some more than others (I won’t mention their names).  We taught Kim to play Rock Band, got her signed up on facebook and manage to expose her to our love of fountain drinks, hmmm, imagine that? By the end of her trip she was asking for a fountain all on her own accord, she made us proud. Needless to say we had a great time and Kim you need to come back soon because we are now planning a trip to SoCal in the coming months. (To see more pictures of our trip, look on facebook)

 

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A couple weeks after Kim’s visit, we went on a ski trip to Lake Tahoe.  This was my first skiing experience ever.  Let’s just say I absolutely HATED skiing on day one, I despised it, I loathed it.  Day two was better, I actually really started to like it, then the crash came.  Anyone and everyone that reads this blog has heard the story, I fell, it hurt, I got carried down the mountain on a sled by an Australian ski instructor, saw a really cute doctor and then had to use some crutches and wear a knee brace for a couple of days.  On a side note our friends Elizabeth and Todd joined us on our vacation and guess what? Todd got my entire incident on video.  It is so great to have such wonderful friends to document the glamorous moments of our lives.  In spite of a minor injury, we had a great time.  I loved the snow and the mountains.  I actually really liked skiing and I hope to do it again next year.  Hopefully I will improve my skills.  Maybe next year I will not look like such a weirdo on the skis.  

 

 

At the top of Heavenly looking out over Lake Tahoe

At the top of Heavenly looking out over Lake Tahoe

 

 

Amidst all of our travels, Jodi and I were able to visit our families.  She went to Arizona to see her mom and dad and I of course went to the greatest state ever, yep, you guessed it, TEXAS!!!! It was so refreshing to finally be back home and see my family and friends.  However, I am tired of writing now, so I will give more details in a later blog post.

Jodi and I are at it again, chasing after stray dogs, except this story ends a little a bit different than our last dog adventure in ABQ.

Yesterday, we were out running errands preparing for our ski trip to Lake Tahoe. The weather was rainy and cold as usual and low behold what do we see crossing the crowded street? Not just one dog, but TWO!!! We turned at the light, did a quick U-turn and pulled into the scrapbooking store parking lot.  The two pups were headed down the street on the sidewalk, but as soon as we got out of the car and called them they came running to us without hesitation.  One of the dogs is big, we suspect that it is a shepherd mix and the other guy is a little fella, some sort of chihuahua.  Of course neither of the dogs has I.D. tags, one had a collar, but that is it.  So, Jodi and I being the animal lovers that we are, we could not just leave the dogs on the street in the cold, wet weather, that would be unheard of.  So we put them in the car, got them to the house and put them in the backyard.  We hurried to the grocery store to finish up the last of our errands and get home so we could figure out what we are going to do with these dogs.  Keep in mind we were trying to get all of our stuff together so we could leave for our trip, which is today.  Jodi went over to our neighbor’s house to find out if they had any information about the local animal shelter, of course it is an animal shelter that euthanizes dogs that are not claimed in a few days.  Neither Jodi or myself could stand the thought of these poor pups getting killed before at least attempting to find their owners.  Our neighbors also gave us information about one of our other neighbors who is also an animal lover, she is always rescuing dogs and attempting to find them adoptive families.  So, while Jodi was visiting with the neighbors they gave her call and asked if she would be able to take the dogs.  Unfortunately she was not able to at the time, however, she offered to help us out with trying to find the dogs’ owners or possibly getting them adopted.  Sooo, now we have two dogs living in our backyard and our next door neighbors are gracious enough to keep an eye on them while we are gone on our trip.  

Now, as if all that wasn’t enough craziness for one day, we continued getting all of our stuff packed and loaded in the car.  Keep in mind, by the time we had finished everything, it was 1 AM. We decided to post an ad on craig’s list, place an ad in the local paper and make some signs.  Our plan was to get up early this morning and go put the signs up on various street lights and such.  Well, we thought since the traffic isn’t bad at 1:30 in the morning, we decided we would just go and put the signs out and of course go to Wal-Mart because we had forgotten some things earlier when we were out running errands.  I was the driver, Jodi was in charge of posting the signs.  I would stop at the light, put the flashers on, she would get out, run and duck tape the signs up to various light posts and traffic signs around the area where we found the dogs.  We had a very efficient system going on (Side note: mom & dad if you are reading this, don’t panic, we were very safe).

Now, here we are trying to get a little shut-eye before we leave for the snow and the words of the Go-Go’s plays in my head: “Vacation, all I ever wanted!”

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Greetings from cold, dreary Modesto, California!!

Yes, we are alive and well, unfortunately we have just fallen off the planet of blogging for the last several months.  But alas, here we are again to update you on the days of our lives.  

We finished our first travel assignment in Albuquerque at the beginning of November and then we headed out to what Jodi thought would be sunny California, she would later find out that that is not the case in Modesto.  As with most of our trips, the trip out to Cali came with its own set of challenges. Thankfully we had the pleasure and assistance of Lucas, my eldest brother, to accompany us on our journey.  He was chosen to drive the 16-ft Penske moving truck.  I hope that it was thrilling for him, he once said that he had a desire to be a truck driver, but then law school got in the way.  Anywho,  Lucas was able to witness first hand Jodi and myself in our element.  He was able to enjoy our craziness, our bickering and the mishaps that we encounter during our daily lives.  He later told us that our different types of  crazy complemented one another, that is always nice to hear when someone appreciates your insanity.  Lucas, I hope you enjoyed yourself, because we sure did enjoy having you along for the ride.  

We began our what we thought would be 16 hour journey on Sunday, November 9th at 1530 MST. Jodi lead the way in “Randi” (Audi TT), I was in the middle with “Smokey” (Toyota 4 Runner), and Lucas brought up the rear in “The Penske”.   The trip got off to a relatively smooth start, except for the fact that Sam didn’t even make it out of Albuquerque before vomiting one time.  We have decided that one episode of cat vomit per trip is going to be the norm, and I must say for the amount of time we ended up being in the car, poor little Sam did pretty well.  We made our way into Arizona without any complications.  As we were approaching Flagstaff, Jodi’s mother informed us that there was a chance of snow in Flagstaff.  My first thought was, HOORAY for snow and because I was so excited about the potential of snow, I figured it probably wouldn’t happen.  WRONG!!  We arrived in Flagstaff at approximately 2000, and what do we see beginning to fall on our windshields, yep, you guessed huge, beautiful snowflakes.  I honestly did not believe it at first, just ask Jodi.  She said, “It’s snowing” and I said “No, it’s not snowing, that is just sleet.”  Jodi said “Kara, this is snow.”  It was a frigid 27 degrees outside and the snow began collecting on the roadways, it was so beautiful to see. Driving in it was another story.  This was only the second time in my life to have ever driven in snow, it was a bit scary. The snowfall became heavier and heavier, we were all having difficulty seeing and Lucas was having a bit of trouble keeping “The Penske” on the road.  At this point the snow was not so fun anymore.  We decided to take a small detour to I don’t even know where we were and stop.  We put our heads together, well really Jodi and Lucas did, I was too busy playing in the snow while wearing my flip-flops. We decided to drive to a well lit gas station and wait it out.  Between the detour and waiting out the snow storm we spent about 2.5 hours in Flagstaff.  After our 2.5 hour setback, we were back on the road again at 2230.  After the snow, there really wasn’t that much excitement, just a very very LONG drive ahead of us.  Finally, after several energy drinks, a late night stop at Mickey D’s, and approximately 20 LONG hours of driving we arrived at our little house on Moran Ave. in Modesto, California.  

Once we arrived in Modesto, we spent the next couple of days unpacking.  Since Lucas was with us we took some time to do some sightseeing around the city, and for being the so called “armpit of California,” we realized that Modesto is really not that bad of place.  It is just a small city in Cali, and it is in a great location.  Just a couple of hours from San Francisco, a few hours from Lake Tahoe and an hour from Sacramento, the state capitol of California.  We took a little trip on Thursday, November 13th to San Francisco, we drove and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge and drove along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).  We had a superb time with brother Lucas, and while he was here Jodi adopted him as her younger brother.  We tried and tried to get him to stay, but he kept saying something about needing to look for a job.  Despite several attempts to convince him to become a nurse so he could travel with us, he decided he should stick with the lawyer gig and go back to H-town.  We took him EARLY Friday morning to the Sacramento airport and bid a sad farewell to brother Lucas.  Jodi and myself hung around in Sacramento so we could go and apply for our temporary California nursing license.  We were so happy to get home that afternoon, our first week here lacked one important thing, SLEEP, so we came home and got back on our crazy sleeping schedule.  Sleep by day, awake by night.  

All in all, as with all of our trips we had a wonderful time in spite of our long drive.  However, the three of us vowed to never ever do that again.  20 consecutive hours is just too long to be in the car. Lucas advised us that next time we should just hire some movers, and after that trip I think he is right.  Now, for the fun part, I know that when I read a blog I am always looking forward to seeing pictures, so without further ado here is a link to some pictures of our trip and the house.

Road to Modesto Pictures

Modesto, CA House

UPDATE on “The Invalids”: Oliver is feeling like his old self again, except he is a little bit more cuddly and a lot less boingy, however, I’m sure that will change once his little feet heal. Last night when we came home after going to Wal-Mart, where do you think we found the little guy?  Laying in the pile of clean laundry in the laundry basket.  I do have to say he is a kitten after my own heart, he loves clean laundry. Jodi is also up and running, she actually has been in the mood to scrapbook and has been a scrappin’ fool as of late.  Her gums are still sore, but not nearly as bad as they were before.  She has a follow-up appointment tomorrow, so we will for sure keep you updated on the “Tooth Saga.”  

In other news, we took one of our infamous late night trips to Wal-Mart last night for the sole purpose of purchasing a little floor heater for our apartment (Side note: you may be asking yourself, why don’t they just turn on their heater? Well, it is not that simple. You see, here in New Mexico you either have your air conditioner (aka “Swamp Cooler”) turned on, or your furnace, not both. We have yet to have them turn our furnace on, but we are planning on having them do it soon since the weather is getting cold fast). ANYWAYS, back to my story, Jodi was freezing despite wearing a jacket and gloves in the house, I felt sorry for her and suggested that we go and buy a heater. As everyone knows, you can’t go to Wal-Mart and only buy one thing, that would be ludicrous. While at Wal-Mart, I remembered that Jodi and I had discussed purchasing a carpet cleaner of some sort due to the fact we have some large pet stains as mentioned in one of our earlier post. Of course we headed down the vacuum cleaner/steam cleaner isle and there it was in all its glory, Bissell’s Little Green compact, multi-purpose cleaner. We finished up our shopping, made our purchases and headed home. I could hardly wait to get home and put our little machine to the test.  Folks, I tell you this without any hesitation, this little cleaner is absolutely, 100%, beyond a shadow of doubt AMAZING!!! I do believe this just might be one of the best purchases I have ever made. We are now affectionately referring to our little gem as “The Unit.”  Obviously since I can’t seem to stop ranting about the thing you probably figured out that it did indeed work on our tough pet stains. I highly recommend this product and if you would like more info, please, don’t hesitate to call me or write, I will give you the details. Oh yes, by the way, we purchased a floor heater as well and Jodi has grown quite fond of it in such a short time. It is amazing what small household electronics can do to brighten your day.

 

 

Oliver

Oliver

Scrappin' Jodi

Scrappin' Jodi

"The Unit"

"The Unit"

Putting The Unit to the test

Putting "The Unit" to the test

 

 

 

 

 

Ever since we found out we were coming to Albuquerque, everyone has been telling us “You have to go to the balloon festival.”  Well, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is finally here.  It started this past Saturday, and like any good tourists we wanted to be there bright and early, and by bright and early I mean before sunrise.  Thankfully since we are already on a crazy night schedule at work, this was not an issue for us.  We hopped in our car at 4:45 am (MST) and headed to Balloon Fiesta Park, which is only a 15 minute drive from here.  Of course, all the townspeople warned us that we needed to get on the road early because traffic would be horrible, well, I am now officially convinced that the New Mexican people have no idea what traffic really is.  Granted, once we got close to the park, we did have to wait in line to get into the parking area, but that is typical for any venue that is hosting a BIG event.  Anywho, back to the topic at hand, we arrived at the park without incident and proceeded to walk around and see the attractions.  Basically, the Balloon Fiesta consists of souvenir shops, food venues and of course hot air balloons.  Upon recommendation from our co-workers, we grabbed ourselves some hot chocolate and a breakfast burrito with green chili, found a little spot on the grass and waited for the main event to begin.  

Before the main event, we enjoyed the Dawn Patrol, it began while it was still dark out and consisted of about a dozen balloonists.  The Dawn Patrol take off while it is still dark outside and don’t land until it is light outside.  Fellow balloonists appreciate the Dawn Patrol because they are able to watch the balloons and get an idea of wind speeds and direction at different altitudes.  After watching the Dawn Patrol, we waited for about an hour for the main event of the morning, MASS ASCENSION. Mass ascension is a launch of all the participating balloons.  During mass ascension, balloons launch in two waves, on the ground there are people known as “zebras” that act as traffic cops to ensure safe ballooning.  All in all it was quite a sight seeing all the different shapes and sizes of the balloons, it wasn’t long until the sky was full of them and you could see them floating for miles.  We must have taken over a hundred pictures, and I was not able to choose which ones I like best, so I must sucker you into watching another one of my slide shows.  ENJOY!!!

 

So, Jodi finally felt well enough to get out of the house this past Friday afternoon and do some errands.  On our way to the local Michael’s we encountered several people running down Montgomery (a busy street located right by our apartment). At first we did not know the reason for the chaos, then, out of nowhere there he was, BRUTUS.  a Jack-Russell Terrier mix.  We proceeded to do a u-turn and assist in the chase.  I jumped out of the car, while Jodi proceeded to follow the dog slowly. While on foot, I discovered that one of the young men chasing the dog was not even the dog’s owner, he was just simply a lay person who out of the kindness of his heart was chasing the dog.  He eventually called the police because he was fearful the pup would cause a traffic accident.  People were literally stopping dead in their tracks so as not to hit the dog. Finally, Brutus ran behind a health clinic where Jodi, myself and a Pepsi man cornered the dog and we were able to obtain him. The little dog had a collar and tags so we made a phone call to the owner to come get his dog. While waiting for the dog’s owner to arrive, a cop showed up and waited with us.  Finally, after about 20 minutes of waiting, a man pulled up in his Lincoln Navigator and claimed that little Brutus was in fact his dog. After a quick criminal background check conducted by the policeman, we handed over our little friend to his person.  

Needless to say, we were both very impressed by the kind people here in Albuquerque, everyone was so concerned for this little pup.  Who knew running errands could be so eventful?

 

Brutus

Brutus

Jodi & Brutus

Jodi & Brutus

 

The "Dog Catchers"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Some of the events of this story were somewhat embellished.

Well, for the first time in a long time we had four days off in a row and we actually didn’t go anywhere, AMAZING. Instead poor Jodi was finally able to go to the dentist on Tuesday morning right after we got off work for a toothache that she has had for months.  However, I don’t think she was expecting to be there for 3 1/2 hours.  After some extensive dental work and a prescription for vicodin, she has been on strict bedrest for the last several days.  Okay, not really on bedrest, but she has had a lot of pain due to the dental work.  So her four days off have been spent trying to cope with the pain and watching many episodes of a great TV show entitled “Snapped.”  A show about crazy woman who kill their husbands, or someone that is interfering with their lives in a way they are not happy about.  As if all that wasn’t enough, Jodi continued to have horrible pain (pain level 10/10 on a pain scale of 0 to 10, 0 is no pain and 10 is like slamming your hand in a car door) three days after her initial appointment, so she went back to the dentist and it turned out she had an infection.  This time she was given a prescription for a stronger pain killer and an antibiotic.

In the midst of Jodi’s trips to the dentist, our little Oliver Kitten lost his manhood and his front claws.  Yes, we finally did it, castrated the cat and took away some of his defenses.  Thankfully the little booger has recuperated well and seems to be on the mend, still boings around when he is feeling up to it.

  

SURVEY SAYS……TEX-MEX

Now, I am not just saying this just because I am a home grown Texan, but hands down, Texas has the best mexican food of all time.  I don’t know what these peeps out here are thinking that there food is sooooo good with their green and red chile, I mean come on.  Now don’t get me wrong, I completely understand there is a supposed to be a distinction between the two types of mexican food, but if any one of you were to compare them side by side, you too would agree that Tex-Mex just tastes better.  I’m sure several of you faithful readers have been to the annual Green Chili Festival at Chuy’s Restaurant in Texas, if you haven’t you should be ashamed of yourself and you must go.  It is quite an enjoyable event where chefs experiment with green chilis and create a variety of recipes.  I have tasted several of them and been completely satisfied with the green chili taste, but the difference between us and them is Texans know how to use just the right proportions of green chili.  In New Mexico this isn’t the case, they use so much green chili that the food is too spicy to enjoy.  Here are some additional issues I have with New Mexican food, first of all the cheese on New Mexican enchiladas is kind of crispy, it is as if they just sprinkled kraft shredded cheese on their enchiladas and melted it until it was crispy, COME ON who wants crispy cheese on their enchiladas. Secondly, they serve potatoes instead of rice, when I eat mexican food I want some rice and refried beans, NOT potatoes.  Third, they do not serve both green and red salsa, they only serve red, and in the two experiences I have had neither one of them had a lot of flavor, they were just SUPER spicy and unenjoyable. Lastly, and most appalling, just the other night I went to a little “hole in the wall” restaurant that came highly recommended by City Search and the locals called El Patio and they charged us for chips and salsa, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???  I was COMPLETELY and UTTERLY shocked.  

El Patio

 

 

It was on that particular night when eating at El Patio when I looked at Jodi in all seriousness and stated “Jodi, I don’t want to eat Mexican food for the remainder of our time here.”  Thankfully my compadre was in complete agreement with me and we are both fearful of even trying it for a third time.  

 

 

I know some of you may be thinking that I am being much too harsh on New Mexican food, and it is customary to give things three chances.  You might even hear common cliches such as, “Three strikes and you’re outta here” or “Third time’s a charm,” but I’m afraid that just isn’t the case for New Mexican food.  In the words of Siskel and Ebert, New Mexican food gets two thumbs down.    

I leave you with words from a song I once sang in elementary school, “North, south, east, west in my calm, objective opinion, TEXAS is the BEST of the fifty, nifty United States.”

As if September was not busy enough between work and traveling, I took the opportunity to fly to Phoenix, AZ to visit my lifelong friend Erin.  Of course she is no longer just Erin, she comes with a package deal, her husband Patrick and their two beautiful little boys, Noah (3) and Maddox (2 months).  We had a wonderful time just playing with the babies and enjoying hanging out like the good ole’ days when we were just young pups.  Of course I forgot to take the camera with me, so I do not have many photographs to commemorate this event, however I did have my phone so here a couple of pictures of the boys.  

          

 

 

 

 

 

Erin and Patrick, I do not even know if you read this blog, but I will make sure you do after this post.  I had so much fun with ya’ll and kiddos.  Perhaps someday we will do an travel assignment in Phoenix and then I can see you guys all the time.